Set in a 1937 Memphis whites-only hospital and its surrounding area, The Death of Bessie Smith uses the legend surrounding the death of the famous blues singer to mine the circumstances and attitudes that allow injustice to occur.
The Death of Bessie Smith was written in 1959 and premiered in West Berlin in 1960. It made its American premiere at the York Playhouse the following year. This will be the first New York revival of the play in 46 years.
Interfaith Medical Center, located in Bed-Stuy, is one of several hospitals throughout Brooklyn in danger of imminent closure. Despite the efforts of the Bed-Stuy community and its allies in labor and government rallying to its defense, Interfaith may have to shut its doors, literally any day now, if mediation in bankruptcy court is unsuccessful. The public is invited to consider whether that is how public health decisions affecting hundreds of thousands should be made.